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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Photosynthesizing The Workplace: A Study In Healthy And Holistic Production Spaces, Kaeli Howard Jul 2019

Photosynthesizing The Workplace: A Study In Healthy And Holistic Production Spaces, Kaeli Howard

Masters Theses

Throughout time nature has been a prescribed healer of stress on the human condition. Its vital integration into our daily lives has been proven by scientific evidence. The majority of Americans spend approximately 1/3 of their life working, whatever that job may entail. Therefore, it makes sense that the environments that we spend so much of our life in for work at extremely important to our physical and mental health, however, current workplace models are not acknowledging that. Redefining the workplace to integrate nature would start to change work life in this country and how work itself is viewed ...


One Year Change In Cognitive Function In Male And Female Common Marmosets (Callithrix Jacchus), Brianna Healey Jul 2019

One Year Change In Cognitive Function In Male And Female Common Marmosets (Callithrix Jacchus), Brianna Healey

Masters Theses

Long term cognitive studies in humans and nonhuman primates such as macaques are difficult because of their long lifespan. The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a non-human primate who shares with humans many features characteristic of primates, including a complex brain and cognitive function. They also have a short lifespan (~10 years) that makes them a great model in studies of cognitive aging. This study focuses on the rate of decline in cognitive function in male and female marmosets based on performance on reversal learning tasks over 2 years of testing.

We found that marmosets improved their overall performance from ...


Mechanisms And Mitigation Of Skeletal Muscle Fatigue In Single Fibers From Older Adults, Aurora Foster Jul 2019

Mechanisms And Mitigation Of Skeletal Muscle Fatigue In Single Fibers From Older Adults, Aurora Foster

Masters Theses

Skeletal muscle fatigue is the contraction-induced decline in whole muscle force or power, and can be greater in older versus young adults. Fatigue primarily results from increased metabolism elevating phosphate (Pi) and hydrogen (H+), which alters myosin-actin interactions; however, which steps of the myosin-actin cross-bridge cycle are changed and their reversibility are unclear. PURPOSE: This study sought to: 1) Examine the effects of elevated Pi and H+ on molecular and cellular function, and 2) Test the ability of deoxyadenosine triphosphate (dATP), an alternative energy to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), to reverse the contractile changes induced with high Pi ...


Garlic Mustard (Alliaria Petiolata) Management Effectiveness And Plant Community Response, Erin Coates-Connor Jul 2019

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria Petiolata) Management Effectiveness And Plant Community Response, Erin Coates-Connor

Masters Theses

The control and eradication of the invasive biennial herb garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and the restoration of invaded forest habitats present important linked challenges to land managers in North America. Removing garlic mustard by hand and by glyphosate herbicide application have both been used as eradication strategies with mixed results. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, but they are rarely compared for effectiveness and community impact across multiple years of management. Some previous studies have shown improvements in species diversity and plant community composition following management, while others have found no differences. To better understand both garlic mustard population and ...


Sex, Motivation, And Reversal Learning In The Common Marmoset (Callithrix Jacchus), Alyssa Carlotto Jul 2019

Sex, Motivation, And Reversal Learning In The Common Marmoset (Callithrix Jacchus), Alyssa Carlotto

Masters Theses

This study examined the relationships between motivation and cognitive performance in male and female common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). This question was driven by prior data from the Lacreuse lab showing a robust female impairment in reversal learning, as assessed by the number of trials needed to acquire a reversal following a simple discrimination between two stimuli. This thesis tested the hypothesis that the female impairment in reversal learning was mediated by deficits in motivation. Two sets of measures were used to test this hypothesis. I evaluated physical effort via testing on the progressive ratio (PR), a test that requires animals ...


Studies On The Interaction And Organization Of Bacterial Proteins On Membranes, Mariana Brena Jul 2019

Studies On The Interaction And Organization Of Bacterial Proteins On Membranes, Mariana Brena

Masters Theses

Bacteria have developed various means of secreting proteins that can enter the host cell membrane. In this work I focus on two systems: cholesterol-dependent cytolysins and Type III Secretion.

Cholesterol is a molecule that is critical for physiological processes and cell membrane function. Not only can improper regulation lead to disease, but also the role cholesterol plays in cell function indicates it is an important molecule to understand. In response to this need, probes have been developed that detect cholesterol molecules in membranes. However, it has been recently shown that there is a need for probes that only respond to ...


Ecological And Economic Implications Of Establishing Quercus Spp. In The Urban Environment, Tierney Bocsi Jul 2019

Ecological And Economic Implications Of Establishing Quercus Spp. In The Urban Environment, Tierney Bocsi

Masters Theses

As urban greening efforts continue, it is important to assess whether decisions to intensify street tree planting are meeting intended goals of improving urban canopy cover and increasing ecosystem services. Benefits of the urban forest take many forms, from ecological and economic to social and cultural, and are frequently cited in support of street tree planting. However, it is unknown to what extent factors such as species or nursery production method affect the ability of trees to successfully establish and provide ecosystem services in the urban environment. Using a system of oak trees planted along roads in South Amherst, Massachusetts ...


Hybridized Polymeric Nano-Assemblies: Key Insights Into Addressing Mdr Infections, Ryan Landis Mar 2019

Hybridized Polymeric Nano-Assemblies: Key Insights Into Addressing Mdr Infections, Ryan Landis

Doctoral Dissertations

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria contribute to more than 700,000 annual deaths world-wide. Millions more suffer from limb amputations or face high healthcare treatment costs where prolonged and costly therapeutic regimens are used to counter MDR infections. While there is an international push to develop novel and more powerful antimicrobials to address the impending threat, one particularly interesting approach that has re-emerged are essential oils, phytochemical extracts derived from plant sources. While their antimicrobial activity demonstrates a promising avenue, their stability in aqueous media, limits their practical use in or on mammals. Inspired by the versatility of polymer nanotechnology and the ...


Population Viability And Connectivity Of The Federally Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake In Central Peninsular Florida, Javan Bauder Mar 2019

Population Viability And Connectivity Of The Federally Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake In Central Peninsular Florida, Javan Bauder

Doctoral Dissertations

Understanding the factors influencing the likelihood of persistence of real-world populations requires both an accurate understanding of the traits and behaviors of individuals within those populations (e.g., movement, habitat selection, survival, fecundity, dispersal) but also an understanding of how those traits and behaviors are influenced by landscape features. The federally threatened eastern indigo snake (EIS, Drymarchon couperi) has declined throughout its range primarily due to anthropogenically-induced habitat loss and fragmentation making spatially-explicit assessments of population viability and connectivity essential for understanding its current status and directing future conservation efforts.

The primary goal of my dissertation was to understand how ...


Small Fruit Phenolics: Phenolic Variations And Related Health Relevance, Susan Cheplick Mar 2019

Small Fruit Phenolics: Phenolic Variations And Related Health Relevance, Susan Cheplick

Doctoral Dissertations

Berries, specifically, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are considered an integral part of a healthy plant-based diet. Berries contain high levels of phenolic compounds, which contribute to the health benefits of berry consumption. Many phenolic compounds exhibit high levels of antioxidant activity and other health related benefits, including anti- microbial, anti-inflammatory and cardio-vascular related functional capabilities.

Strawberry and raspberry fruit were screened and evaluated for potential in dietary management of type 2 diabetes and related hypertension using in vitro assay models. There were differences between cultivars within each crop related to antioxidant activity. Inhibition of α- amylase, α-glucosidase, and ACE-1 ...


The Effects Of Social And Physical Interactions On Lizard Morphology, Behavior, And Ecology, Casey Gilman Mar 2019

The Effects Of Social And Physical Interactions On Lizard Morphology, Behavior, And Ecology, Casey Gilman

Doctoral Dissertations

Interactions with the physical and social aspects of an animal’s surroundings direct the trajectory of local adaptation and can lead to tremendous diversity within and across taxa. In my dissertation, I explored how interactions between lizards and their environment lead to morphological, behavioral, and ecological diversity. First, I examined how a common, but unexplored habitat characteristic, perch flexibility, affects jumping performance of an arboreal lizard. I found that in the lab, green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis) did not take advantage of the natural recoil of the flexible perches, and suffered decreased jump distance and takeoff speed as a consequence ...


Nascent Dna Proteomics Analysis Uncovers Dna Replication Dynamics In The Human Pathogen Trypanosoma Brucei, Maria Rocha Granados Mar 2019

Nascent Dna Proteomics Analysis Uncovers Dna Replication Dynamics In The Human Pathogen Trypanosoma Brucei, Maria Rocha Granados

Doctoral Dissertations

DNA is the substrate of many cellular processes including DNA replication, transcription and chromatin remodeling. These processes are coordinated to maintain genome integrity and ensure accurate duplication of genetic and epigenetic information. Genome-wide studies have provided evidence of the relationship between transcription and DNA replication timing. A global analysis of DNA replication initiation in T. brucei showed that TbORC1 (subunit of the origin recognition complex, ORC) binding sites are located at the boundaries of transcription units. Although recent studies in T. brucei indicate functional links among DNA replication and transcription, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, we adapted ...


Protein Degradation Regulates Phospholipid Biosynthetic Gene Expression In Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Bryan Salas-Santiago Mar 2019

Protein Degradation Regulates Phospholipid Biosynthetic Gene Expression In Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Bryan Salas-Santiago

Doctoral Dissertations

Transcriptional regulation of most phospholipid biosynthetic genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is coordinated by inositol and choline. Inositol affects phosphatidic acid (PA) intracellular levels. Opi1p interacts physically with PA and is the main repressor of the phospholipid biosynthetic genes. It is localized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) bound to the ER membrane protein Scs2p. When PA levels drop, Opi1p is translocated into the nucleus repressing most phospholipid biosynthetic genes. The OPI1 locus was identified in a screen looking for overproduction and excretion of inositol (Opi-). Opi- mutants are generally associated with a defect in repression of the ...


Chemoreceptor Dynamics And Signaling: Nmr Measurements Within Functional Complexes, Maryam Kashefi Mar 2019

Chemoreceptor Dynamics And Signaling: Nmr Measurements Within Functional Complexes, Maryam Kashefi

Doctoral Dissertations

Bacteria employ remarkable membrane-bound nanoarrays to sense their environment and direct their swimming. Arrays consist of chemotaxis receptor trimers of dimers that are bridged at their membrane-distal tips by rings of two cytoplasmic proteins, a kinase CheA and a coupling protein CheW. It is widely accepted that ligand binding to the receptor causes a 2 Å piston motion of a helix that extends through the periplasmic and transmembrane domains. However, it is not clear how the signal propagates 200 Å further to control activity of the kinase bound at the tip of the receptor. Dynamic changes within the cytoplasmic domain ...


Urban Biodiversity Experience And Exposure: Intervention And Inequality At The Local And Global Scale, Evan Kuras Mar 2019

Urban Biodiversity Experience And Exposure: Intervention And Inequality At The Local And Global Scale, Evan Kuras

Masters Theses

As cities expand globally, researchers must clarify how human activities and institutions shape biodiversity and conversely, how ecological processes shape human outcomes. Two features of contemporary cities motivate this thesis. First, urban residents, and especially children, are spending less time in nature and consequently, miss out on healthy and formative experiences with biodiversity. Second, residents with the least access to biodiversity tend to be those with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES). Together, these patterns convey a multi-layered environmental injustice: not only might urbanites become increasingly estranged from biodiversity, disinterested from its conservation, and disconnected from its benefits, but these outcomes ...


Apple Disease Forecasting Models: When Climate Changes The Rules, Elizabeth W. Garofalo Mar 2019

Apple Disease Forecasting Models: When Climate Changes The Rules, Elizabeth W. Garofalo

Masters Theses

With a changing global climate, plant pathologists must understand the impact aberrant weather events may have on the development of plant diseases. Fungal plant infections are largely dependent on temperature and precipitation, climate parameters that are predicted to change more in this century. Venturia inaequalis causes apple scab, one of the most destructive apple diseases of temperate growing regions. Temperature and precipitation drive apple scab infections and forecast models, which guide growers in efficient, effective fungicide applications. In some recent years in the Northeast, these models have failed to accurately predict when ascospores of this fungus are available to cause ...


Visual Attention In Jumping Spiders, Margaret Bruce Mar 2019

Visual Attention In Jumping Spiders, Margaret Bruce

Masters Theses

The different ways that animals extract and analyze visual information from their environment is of interest to sensory ecologists. Jumping spiders, well-known for visually guided mating and hunting behavior, are an interesting model for the study of visual attention because they quickly and efficiently integrate information from eight eyes with a small brain. Stimuli in front of the spider are examined by two functionally and morphologically distinct pairs of forward-facing eyes. The principal eyes discern fine details and have small retinas and thus a small visual field. However, their position at the back of moveable tubes within the cephalothorax expands ...


Influence Of Shipping Container Upon Temperature, Relative Humidity, And Bacterial Growth On Broccoli, Nicholas Berus Mar 2019

Influence Of Shipping Container Upon Temperature, Relative Humidity, And Bacterial Growth On Broccoli, Nicholas Berus

Masters Theses

Temperature and relative humidity of produce throughout the cold chain can greatly affect the quality and safety of the food product. Different packaging systems or containers can provide better cooling environments for food products that could decrease temperature abuse and ultimately safety risks. In this study we compiled temperature and relative humidity profiles of broccoli packed in different shipping containers throughout the produce supply chain. The shipping containers looked at were the wax corrugated box, reusable plastic containers (RPC), and Eco Pack Green Box with and without a lid. Large differences were seen in the temperature profiles of each package ...


Micronutrient Status And Telomere Length In Adult Men And Women., Christy S. Maxwell Nov 2018

Micronutrient Status And Telomere Length In Adult Men And Women., Christy S. Maxwell

Doctoral Dissertations

Background: Telomeres are the noncoding nucleotide sequences at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes, serving to protect DNA during mitotic division. Given their guanine-rich structure, telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative damage often mediated by inflammation. Recently, telomere attrition and dysfunction have been associated with age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers. Several modifiable risk factors have also been associated with shortened telomere length, including physical inactivity, obesity, stress, smoking, and poor diet.

Objective: We examined the relations between vitamin B12 status, folate status, and iron status, relative to telomere length in eligible ...


Studies Of Dynein Anchoring Protein In Budding Yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Safia Omer Nov 2018

Studies Of Dynein Anchoring Protein In Budding Yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Safia Omer

Doctoral Dissertations

Inheritance of equal genomic content is vital for cellular growth and survival. During cell division, the mitotic spindle is built to ensure equal chromosome segregation between dividing cells. Fidelity of segregation is achieved by the precise positioning of the mitotic spindle by force generators located at the cell cortex where they exert pulling on microtubule (MT). Cortical dynein, a minus end directed motor, generates pulling forces via microtubule end-on capture-shrinkage and lateral MT sliding mechanisms. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the dynein attachment molecule Num1 interacts with plasma membrane (PM), endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and mitochondria to facilitate spindle positioning across the mother-bud ...


Cardiovascular Disease Risk And Menopause: Effects Of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Exercise, And Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Corinna Serviente Nov 2018

Cardiovascular Disease Risk And Menopause: Effects Of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Exercise, And Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Corinna Serviente

Doctoral Dissertations

Menopause is associated with adverse changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors. A reduction in estrogens is most commonly associated with changing cardiovascular disease risk; however, recent observations suggest that the increase in follicle stimulating hormone that accompanies menopause may also influence risk, potentially through its influence on lipid levels. The changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors may adversely affect endothelial cell function, a pre-clinical marker for cardiovascular disease. Whether cardiorespiratory fitness is protective of endothelial health in this population, thereby mitigating the changes in risk that accompany menopause, is unclear. This dissertation evaluated differences in endothelial health and endothelial responses ...


Epigenetic Regulation Of Genomic Imprinting During Early Mammalian Embryonic Development, Chelsea Marcho Nov 2018

Epigenetic Regulation Of Genomic Imprinting During Early Mammalian Embryonic Development, Chelsea Marcho

Doctoral Dissertations

Mammalian development involves remarkable changes, starting from a single-cell, totipotent zygote and ending with a developed organism comprised of diverse cells types with distinct morphologies, structures, and functions. Within three days of murine development, the two parental genomes merge into a single nucleus, begin zygotic gene expression, undergo epigenetic remodeling, and make the first lineage decisions. Diversity in cell-types is possible even though cells share the same genome. This diversity is achieved by the tight regulation of differential transcriptional programs. There are many ways these transcriptional programs can be initiated. Epigenetic alterations to the genome can drive transcriptional changes.

Epigenetic ...


Biotransformation Of Resveratrol And Its Implications In Biological Activities In The Colon, Fang Li Nov 2018

Biotransformation Of Resveratrol And Its Implications In Biological Activities In The Colon, Fang Li

Doctoral Dissertations

Resveratrol (RES) is a natural polyphenol compound with a wide range of health-promoting activities, including protective effects against colon cancer and renal disease. However, the premise of these benefits has been dampened since RES shows a poor oral bioavailability due to its rapid and extensive biotransformation after oral consumption. The paradox (low bioavailability but high bioactivity) warrants further investigations to determine the contribution of RES metabolites to the health benefits associated with RES. We identified 11 metabolites of RES in mice with high-resolution HPLC-MS/MS, then quantified two major metabolites - dihydro-resveratrol (DHR) and lunularin (LUN). To further understand the chemopreventative ...


Identifying Functional Components Of The Endoplasmic Reticulum Quality Control And Degradation Factor Edem1, Lydia Lamriben Nov 2018

Identifying Functional Components Of The Endoplasmic Reticulum Quality Control And Degradation Factor Edem1, Lydia Lamriben

Doctoral Dissertations

The ER Degradation-Enhancing Mannosidase-Like protein 1 (EDEM1) is a critical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) quality control factor involved in identifying and directing non-native proteins to the ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) pathway. However, its recognition and binding properties have remained enigmatic since its discovery. Here we provide evidence for an additional redox-sensitive interaction between EDEM1 and Z/NHK that requires the presence of the single Cys on the α-1 antitrypsin ERAD clients. Moreover, this Cys-dependent interaction is necessary when the proteins are isolated under stringent detergent conditions, ones in which only strong covalent interactions can be sustained. This interaction is inherent to ...


Modeling The Abundance And Distribution Of Terrestrial Plants Through Space And Time, Caroline Curtis Nov 2018

Modeling The Abundance And Distribution Of Terrestrial Plants Through Space And Time, Caroline Curtis

Doctoral Dissertations

Anthropogenically-driven changes threaten ecosystems and species over regional to global scales. I addressed several questions related to how species ranges will respond to these changes over large spatial and temporal extents to better understand what determines where a species occurs.

First, I modeled presence and abundance of two widespread invasive plants in the southwest U.S. under current and projected future climatic conditions, from which I inferred impact risk. These results provide more insight than presence modeling alone and highlight the possibility of increased invasion pressure in the future.

Second, I tested the assumption that expert-based climatic tolerance data will ...


An Integrative Approach To Understanding Morphological Novelties: Anatomy, Development, Genetics, And Evolution Of An Extreme Craniofacial Trait In East African Cichlids, Moira R. Conith Nov 2018

An Integrative Approach To Understanding Morphological Novelties: Anatomy, Development, Genetics, And Evolution Of An Extreme Craniofacial Trait In East African Cichlids, Moira R. Conith

Doctoral Dissertations

Phenotypic novelties are an important but poorly understood category of morphological diversity that are often associated with elevated rates of diversification and/or ecological success. The aim of this dissertation is to explore a phenotypic novelty at many levels to contribute to our understanding of how these unique traits can arise (e.g., genetically, developmentally, and evolutionarily) as well as their ecological consequences (e.g., trait function). The extreme snout of the Lake Malawi cichlid fish Labeotropheus is used as a case study. The first chapter establishes the Labeotropheus snout as a model of phenotypic novelty by characterizing the gross ...


A Plant Pathology View Of Signaling: A Computational Study Of Fusarium Oxysporum Kinomes And Downy Mildew Resistance In Sweet Basil, Gregory Deiulio Nov 2018

A Plant Pathology View Of Signaling: A Computational Study Of Fusarium Oxysporum Kinomes And Downy Mildew Resistance In Sweet Basil, Gregory Deiulio

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is composed of two projects that focus on pathogen and plant signaling within the framework of plant pathology. The first project targets protein kinases within the species complex Fusarium oxysporum based on genomic information and tracks their presence/absence and copy number variation across evolutionary time. We have predicted the kinomes of 19 Ascomycete fungi using the kinase annotating software Kinannote. Among Fusaria, kinases related to the perception of the environment, such as Histidine kinases, are proliferated. Similarly, I observed the expansion of Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase that regulates cell growth and development in responding to environmental ...


Combination Regimens Using Dietary Components For The Chemoprevention Of Colorectal Cancer And Inflammation, Christina Dimarco-Crook Nov 2018

Combination Regimens Using Dietary Components For The Chemoprevention Of Colorectal Cancer And Inflammation, Christina Dimarco-Crook

Doctoral Dissertations

ABSTRACT

COMBINATION REGIMENS USING DIETARY COMPONENTS FOR THE

CHEMOPREVENTION OF COLORECTAL CANCER

AND INFLAMMATION

September 2018

CHRISTINA DIMARCO-CROOK, B.S., IMMACULATA UNIVERSITY

M.S., DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Directed by: Professor Hang Xiao

Dietary components have been found to effectively modulate multiple deregulated signaling pathways associated with the initiation and progression of carcinogenesis and inflammation in cellular and animal models. However, clinical studies have shown mixed results when examining the efficacy of individual dietary components, perhaps suggestive of the synergism that exists between multiple components within a particular food and the diet as a whole. Additional ...


Not Gone With The Wind: Addressing Effects Of Offshore Wind Development On Bat Species In The Northeastern United States, Zara Rae Dowling Nov 2018

Not Gone With The Wind: Addressing Effects Of Offshore Wind Development On Bat Species In The Northeastern United States, Zara Rae Dowling

Doctoral Dissertations

Development of coastal and offshore wind energy resources has the potential to add considerable renewable electricity capacity to the United States electrical grid, but could have detrimental impacts on wildlife. Land-based wind energy facilities are estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of bats every year in the United States, and could threaten population viability of some species. Little is known about the potential impacts of offshore wind development on bat populations along the North Atlantic coast, but a number of species are known to frequent marine islands or fly over the ocean during migration. This dissertation helps to characterize risks ...


Role Of The Facial Triad In Factor Inhibiting Hif (Fih): Ligand Binding, Substrate Selectivity, And Coupling, Vanessa Chaplin Nov 2018

Role Of The Facial Triad In Factor Inhibiting Hif (Fih): Ligand Binding, Substrate Selectivity, And Coupling, Vanessa Chaplin

Doctoral Dissertations

Alpha-ketoglutarate (αKG) dependent oxygenases comprise a large superfamily of enzymes that activate O2 for varied reactions. While most of these enzymes contain a non-heme Fe bound by a His2Asp facial triad, a small number of αKG-dependent halogenases require only the two His ligands to bind Fe and activate O2. The enzyme “factor inhibiting HIF” (FIH) contains a His2Asp facial triad and selectively hydroxylates polypeptides, however removal of the Asp ligand in the D201G variant leads to a highly active enzyme, seemingly without a complete facial triad. Herein, we report on the formation of an ...